I try to stay connected with Eve when I travel and can’t actually log in. I’ll check my alliance forums, our corp Discord, update Evenova, read through Reddit, and check zkill for activity. We all have a few minutes here or there to stay informed, and when you’re unable to log in, those snippets of info are like water to a man in the desert.
This week, I read a comment on Reddit about how a man and his son would use Eve lingo in the real world. That got me thinking about the background of that kind of situation.
At first, I thought about how very few people are really suited to playing Eve. It’s an unforgiving game that doesn’t protect you either from the wickedness of other people or the consequences of your actions. Rather, it rubs your face in both. Most people aren’t made with stern enough stuff to endure that for entertainment. On the one hand, I’d deem it a sign of good parenting that his son enjoys Eve enough to not only play it, but internalize the lingo. To me, that reflects well on his parenting.
On the other hand, he lets his son play Eve. That’s just not right on so many levels. This really is a twisted game, with the full display of humanity on display.
So, is he a great or a terrible dad? At what age is it okay to let your kids play Eve?
We have to set some ground rules in our considerations, though. Really, when we’re talking about “letting” your kids play Eve, we have to constrain it to under 18 years of age. Any more than that and, well, it’s not really your choice anymore, is it? While some parents do still control what their kids do after that age, that’s a separate issue, I think.
And while we’re at it, we should also exclude mental, social, or biological challenges (e.g. chemical imbalances) that might hamper a person’s ability to cope with in-game content from our consideration. More often than not, parents need to consider each case individually, so any discussion of generalities really doesn’t apply.
And one last one. Ultimately, we each know our children best, so this isn’t about judgment. Rather, I’m curious if it’s even possible to come up with some standard age/threshold/benchmark to use to gauge whether your child is ready for Eve.
Eve offers the opportunity to teach a lot of critical lessons to kids. Here are just a few:
- Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself. No one is going to save you from your mistakes.
- The greatest profits and successes come through constant effort.
- Be suspicious of those you don’t know, and guard against those you do.
- We each create our own sense of morality and find our own way in the world, based on each action we take. Morality is a choice we make daily, not a credo to adopt.
- There’s always someone out there who is bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, or has more friends than you.
- OODA Loops don’t just exist in Willy Wonka. Constantly reassess your situation to verify that your decision is still the correct one.
- Failure isn’t something to be avoided. Rather, embrace and learn from it, so you can grow stronger.
- Weakness and optimism don’t lead to success; brutally honest reflection and direct action do.
- Delaying gratification often leads to greater satisfaction.
- Poor actions will always come back to bite you, even if it’s years from now.
- The innocent don’t always win; in fact, the innocent, the defenseless, and the peaceful more often than not make themselves into victims than martyrs.
And that’s just a few off the top of my head. I often say Eve is a mature game, one that operates at a higher level than most out there; the above lessons are why.
As a parent, I find a common thread spreading through the rest of the media, societal pressures, and the tone of political and sociological conversation – namely that the government/community/family/company owes us certain things. To put it more bluntly, that the keys to our happiness lie beyond ourselves. We’re given a definition of success, we’re given a pattern we’re supposed to follow, and increasingly we’re told that the government owes us food, shelter, health care, electricity, etc. etc. etc.
Eve, on the other hand, tells us a different lesson: we owe you nothing. You earn what you get through working harder, smarter, faster, or longer than the other guy. You’re the agent of action that drives you forward or allows you to drown.
That’s one of the downsides, though. While that thought is incredibly empowering, it only really works on you after you pass through a period of despair. To know that you’re responsible, that no one will come to save you, that you have to stand on your own two feet and make your future rather than have it given to you… those who do learn it are consistently happier than those who don’t.
But it’s a hard thing to learn. So many new players never get beyond it. Why? Because they buy into the lessons society tries to teach – that your country cares about you, that eveyrthing’s going to turn out okay, that you can be and have anything you want just by wishing and trying really hard, that the good are always rewarded and the wicked punished.
Only, that’s not how the real world operates. Sometimes, the hero does in the first act and the story ends. Often, the shoot-from-the-hip ragtag band of righteous rebels is massacred during their first “it’s so crazy it just might work” plan. Generally, institutionalized abuse is never exposed and punished.
When should you pull back that curtain and expose the truth of that harsh fact? When are they capable of taking the right lesson from it: that the way to deal with a fickle and uncaring world is to become content within yourself and understand your own power to control your reactions, your decisions, and your priorities, if not what happens to you?
Beyond that key lesson, though, Eve has a lot of more prosaic dangers. Eve has trash talk to bait people into a fight. It has nastiness, deception, and betrayal. Some of that provides a good, fictitious lesson that maps over well to the real world, but too often players cross the line into unacceptable activity.
And then, there are the darker bits. How often have we heard homophobic, misogynistic, or racist comments in fleet, on r/eve, or in local? How many times have players linked porn in fleet chat? We have real-life threats and character assassination across various media. Every dark part of the Internet is exposed in the very same player interactions that make the game so appealing.
On the one hand, I’d love my daughters to learn to rely upon their own abilities, recognize their power to control their own lives, and patiently work towards goals stretching across months and years.
But do I want my daughters to be exposed to all the twisted things players post, say, and do to each other beyond the extent necessary to play the game? I certainly don’t. I honestly can’t say when I’d be okay with them being exposed to that on such a regular basis. Sure, I could monitor what groups they join, but that’s only a check, not surety.
And yet, if we did take steps to exclude all that unpleasantness from Eve, it wouldn’t be Eve anymore.